tv [untitled] August 2, 2011 3:54pm-4:24pm EDT
it should be. we've done a lot of work here over the last few days. i went back around forth here whether i wanted to speak here or not. almost everything that can be said has been said regarding the events of the last few days. but i did ultimately want to share my thoughts for a moment, as we head into the august recess, as they call it here in walkers and many of us here in the senate will be returning to our home states to explain to the people that we represent what we did or did not do in the last few days. first let me start by pointing out to that our republic is an amazing thing. as heated as the rhetoric may have been over the last few day, i think all of us should stop for just a minute and understand that all around the world there are countries that solve the problems we've solved through debate. they solve it through civil war and conflict, armed and otherwise. our republic is an amazing thing. it isn't always pretty. it's more often than not, messy.
it's withstood years of pressures and choices and continues to do so if ultimately what it gives us is not solutions to our problems. we are comblessed to have it. i would remind many like myself that were elected in the last election cycle, tightly embracing the principles of our constitution, that the constitution is not just a set of words that outline our principles. it gives #us a system of government. it gives us this republic. and this republic is valid. and it matters, even when the people who are running it may not be people you agree with. and we should always remember that. what we have here is special and unique. we should embrace it and be thankful to our god each night that we have the opportunity and the blessing of living in a nation such as this. moving aside from that, however, the facts still remain that this coming month and every month to come more or less this government will spend $300 billion a month. that's a lot of money.
more than any government has ever spent in the history of man. $180 billion of that $300 billion is money that we collect from the people of our country through taxes and fees and other ways. but we borrow $120 billion a month to pay our $300 billion-a-month bill. that's just too much money. that's too much money for republicans, it's too much money for democrats. it's just too much money. and although we should be happy that tomorrow and in the days to come we're not facing a default, an inability to meet our bills, the truth is, an undeniable one that i don't think anyone here would disagree with me when i say, we can't keep borrowing $120 billion every month. or more. because the point and the day will come when the people who lend us that money will stop lending us that money. if we keep doing this for long, we will one day reach a day in this country where we will face a debt crisis, but it won't be because of the debt limit or
because of gridlock in washington; it will be because folks are no longer willing to buy america's debt, because they seriously doubt our ability to pay it back. it's not hyperbole. it is not an exaggeration. it is a mathematical, indisputable fact that no member of either party would dispute. there is general greement on this and there's general agreement that the only way to solve this problem is a combination of two things. number one, this government needs to generate more revenue. and, number two, this government needs to restrict its growth in spending. because as bad as the $3 00 billion-a-month looks, it only gets worse from hereon out. suffice it to say that our economy isn't growing. it's not producing enough revenue moving forward. meanwhile, all the programs we fund are about to explode in their growth because more people than ever are going to retierks live longer than they've ever lived and the math just doesn't add up much these are facts. no one would dispute that.
the debate in washington is not even about that fact. the debate is how do we solve it, how do we generate more money for government and reduce the spending at the same time? and i will at the you, this is into the debate we will solve in the month of awsmght i believe it will characterize the rest of this congress, the 2012 elections, and the years that lie ahead. and the division on how to solve it goes to the root of the dispute that we face in america between two very different visions of america's future. by the way, one not more or less patriotic than the other. patriotic, country-loving americans can disagree on their future vision of what kind of country we should be. but this division, this difference of opinion, is the reason why even though this bill passed, this debate we just had is going to move forward for sometime to come. on the one hand, there are those who believe that the job of
government is deliver economic justice, an economy where every one does we will or as well as can be done. there is another group that believes in concept of economic opportunity where it is not the governmentst job to guarantee an outcome but to guarantee the opportunity to fulfill your dreams and hopes. one is not more moral than the other. there are two very different visions of the role of government in america. but a t. lies at the heart of the debate that we're having as a nation. and so we have to decide because washington is divided because america is divided on this point. and we must decide what every generation of americans before us has decided: and that is what kind of government do we want to have and what role do we want it to have in america's future? and so th the fault lines emerg, the solutions emerge from those two divisions. raise more taxes, some believe that there are some in america that make too much money and should pay more in their taxes.
they believe that our government programs can stimulate economic growth. and they believe that perhaps america no longer needs to fund or can no longer afford to fund the national defense at cernes levels. another group believes that in fact our revenues should come not from more taxes but from more taxpayers, that what we need are more people being employed, more businesses being created, they'll pursue tax reform, they'll pursue regulatory reform, but ultimately we look for more revenue for government from economic growth, not from growth in taxes. we believe the private sector creates these jobs, not government and not politicians. jobs in america are created when everyday people from all walks of life start a business or expand an existing business. i believe and we believe in a safety net program, programs that exist to help those who cannot help themselves and to help those who have tried but failed to stand up and try again, but not safety net programs that function as a way
of life and believe that america's national defense and our role in the world as the strongest military man has ever known is still indispensable. these are two different visions of america and two different types of solutions. ultimately we may find that between these two points there may not be a middle ground and that in fact as a nation and as a people, we must decide what we want the role of government to be in america, moving forward. so let me close by just saying this has been a unique week for me in a woufpl ways. one -- in a couple of ways. one, my family has been here for the better part of a week, young children. we had an opportunity to walk around a little bit and look at all the statues and monuments that pay tribute to our heritage as a people. it reminds us that we are not the first americans that have been asked to choose what kind of government waoepl or what -- we want or what role of government we want in our government. it is a choice everyone before
us has had to make. even in this chamber you can absorb the history of extraordinary debates that took place on this floor, debates that went to the core and heart of what kind of country we wanted to be moving forward. and the voice of those ancients call to us even now that remind us every generation of america has been called to choose clearly what kind of country they want moving forward. and that debate will continue. it will define the service of this congress and for most of us that are here now. i pray we choose wisely. and i look forward to the months that lie ahead that we will choose and make the right choice for our future and for our people. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire.
mrs. shaheen: i ask unanimous consent that the period for morning business be extended until 6:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you, mr. president. i appreciate the senator from minnesota being willing to stay in the chair for a few more minutes before i have to preside so that i can take this time to express my concern about what's happened with the failure to reauthorize the federal aviation administration. the authorization for that administration has expired and it's led to a partial shutdown of that agency and to 4,000 workers being placed on unpaid furlough. a number of those workers are from new hampshire. and while i know that all of us here are glad that we were able to come together to reach a
bipartisan agreement on raising the debt ceiling and avoiding a financial crisis, i am deeply disappointed that bipartisanship has failed us when it comes to reauthorizing the f.a.a. i understand that the house may head home for recess today and for the rest of august, stranding 4,000 f.a.a. workers and as many as 70,000 -- that's right, 70,000 -- airport construction workers around the country who are out of work until we can get an agreement. let me just review for a minute how we got here. since the f.a.a.'s authorization expired in 2007, congress has passed 20 short-term extensions of the f.a.a. all of those bills, every single one of them, were clean bills intended to keep the f.a.a. running while congress decided
how to deal with the complicated policy issues of a long-term reauthorization. unfortunately, the 21st time around, that's the time that we're in, the house decided it was no longer important to keep the f.a.a. operating, and 4,000 people are out of work while the house of representatives may head home for recess. now, i appreciate that there are some significant differences between the two long-term f.a.a. authorization bills passed by the house and the senate. the most controversial of which centered around a ruling by the national mediation board on unionization rules. but that's why chair rockefeller and ranking member hutchison appointed members to a conference committee where the house and senate could work out our policy differences. so far the house has refused to
appoint conferees. instead they've decided to stop negotiating and, unfortunately, to play politics with 4,000 f.a.a. workers and their families. so right now the f.a.a. has been shut down for 11 days. and as long as that shutdown continues, the government will continue to lose $200 million a week, about $30 million a day, that would pay for airport maintenance and safety and for the replacement of our country's outdated air traffic control system. so, if the shutdown continues through the august recess, we're going to lose over $1 billion in revenue that could be used to upgrade our air transportation system. that's waste of the worst kind, and it makes our deficit problems worse at a time when everybody says they're so focused on the deficits.
now, every day the shutdown continues has a very real, very painful impact on people all around the country who have been furloughed. i hope the house, in leaving for recess, has left open the opportunity to continue to address this dispute and resolve it in a way that will bring everybody back to work. the f.a.a. has issued stop-work orders for 241 airport construction projects worth nearly $11 billion that support 70,000 jobs. again, these are real people who are being forced to make real sacrifices. in my state of new hampshire, a $16 million project to rebuild the runway of boyer field in nashua will be delayed if we don't pass an extension. boyer field is the busiest
general aviation airport in new england, and breaking ground this fall on the runway reconstruction project would have created 50 jobs. instead, because of this delay, construction likely won't begin until this spring, and those 50 people are going to have to wait, something that shouldn't have to happen. the tragedy is that they won't have jobs not because they don't have the skills or that the project isn't needed, but because the house is playing politics with the f.a.a. 42 employees at the f.a.a.'s air traffic control center in nashua have been furloughed, and this shutdown is taking a terrible toll on them. i want to tell you about just one: steve finnerty from bedford. i talked to steve earlier today. he's a civil engineer and worked for the f.a.a. for the last 15
years. he's the sole breadwinner for his family of five. he has a young daughter and a pair of year-old twins who are struggling with medical issues. he's already lost nearly two weeks of pay, and he's not sure that he's going to get that pay back even when he does go back to work. he's concerned understandably about how he's going to pay his mortgage and his doctor bills and the grocery bills and all the other needs that his family has. and now he's facing the possibility of an entire month without pay. and there are thousands of people all across the country who are stuck in the same circumstance who want to get back to work, who we need to get back to work. we need them to get back to work so they can pay their mortgages and their children's college tuitions and their medical bills. we need them to get back to work so they can continue to build a g.p.s.-based air traffic control system like every other
industrialized have country has. we need to get this economy moving again, and that means we need to be serious about our responsibilities here in washington. let's pass a clean extension of the f.a.a. let's get these people back to work, and let's go about the business of rebuilding a modern air traffic control system like we should have in the united states. thank you very much, mr. president. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. nelson: madam president, i ask consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. nelson: madam president, i ask consent to speak as if in morning business. madam president, i rise today to recognize the important contributions of a special floridian for his unrelenting determination to protect one of our nation's most unique natural resources. that's the florida everglades. he is a prestigious attorney. he's a commanding litigator. this individual, tom rumberger, has dedicated much of his personal and professional life to advancing the restoration and